The chemical fume hood is often the primary control device for protecting laboratory workers when working with flammable and/or toxic chemicals. OSHA’s laboratory standard (29 CFR 1910. 1450) requires that fume hoods be maintained and function properly when used.
Before using a fume hood:
- Make sure that you understand how the hood works.\
- You should be trained to use it properly.
- Know the hazards of the chemical you are working with; refer to the chemical’s Safety Data Sheet if you are unsure.
- Ensure that the hood is on.
- Make sure that the sash is open to the proper operating level, which is usually indicated by arrows on the frame.
- Make sure that the air gauge indicates that the airflow is within the required range.
When using a fume hood:
- Never allow your head to enter the plane of the hood opening.
- Use appropriate eye protection.
- Be sure that nothing blocks the airflow through the baffles or through the baffle exhaust slots.
- Elevate large equipment (e.g., a centrifuge) at least two inches off the base of the hood interior.
- Keep all materials inside the hood at least six inches from the sash opening. When not working in the hood, close the sash.
- Do not permanently store any chemical inside the hood.
- Promptly report any hood that is not functioning properly. The sash should be closed and the hood tagged and taken out of service until repairs can be completed.
- When using extremely hazardous chemicals, understand your laboratory’s action plan in case an emergency, such as a power failure occurs.